Westchester United Expects Telecoms and Utilities to Better Weather Storms

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State and local officials in White Plains (NY) issued 42 recommendations on Monday to electric utility and telecommunications companies resulting from its Storm Response Report. The report was released by Westchester County Executive George Latimer, state Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, and United Westchester, a group of local, county, and state officials.

According to White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, United Westchester produced “a carefully thought out blueprint for real, measurable improvement in the way utilities prepare for and respond to storm events.” Roach is the group’s Storm Hardening Subcommittee chairman.

The Patch reported that the suggestions come after failures and utility underperformance during and after major storms, most recently Tropical Storm Isaias in August. Two recommendations include improving communication with municipalities, directed at Con Edison and NYSEG, and upgrades to Altice and Verizon’s infrastructure. 

“This effort came together after the 2018 weather crisis…which caused such devastation and power outages in Westchester County,” Latimer said. “The aftermath of those storms created a group of people all across Westchester County getting together to discuss what the problems were that were experienced and what possible solutions can be identified to make sure we have better relationships with the power and telecommunications organizations in order to provide the proper service during these crises.”

Paulin added that the report details recommendations to effectively address the utility and telecom failings related to post-weather events. “Our service providers know what went wrong,” she said. “They now need to address the issues and recommendations set forth in the report so that power restoration efforts in Westchester County can be significantly improved.”

According to The Patch, the report analyzes, makes recommendations, and details what has been done to date regarding the widespread outages, communication failures, and emergency response plans of the region’s electric utility and telecommunications providers. The report includes information on electric utility and telecommunications provider storm preparedness; the pre-storm steps taken to protect the electric distribution grid and critical telecommunications infrastructure; the reasons for the lengthy post-storm repair, restoration of service, and reconnection of customers; reasons for the loss of service communication due to weather and more.

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